A couple of years ago, I began to notice big red boxes appearing inside and outside grocery stores in Ann Arbor. I ignored them for a while, which wasn't easy because they are big and red, but eventually I gave Redbox a try. My first experience wasn't great. Using a kiosk interface to browse the DVD selection while strangers peered over my shoulder was unnerving.
Still, I endured the kiosk search a few more times before stumbling upon the website and realizing I could search and pay online, then pick up my movie at the kiosk with a swipe of my credit card. This multi-channel epiphany led to a much better experience, and I'm now a Redbox fan.
But how many folks never get past the kiosk? How do we make it easier for people to learn about multi-channel possibilities? The idea of smoothing the steps into a gentle slope sounds good, but I'm not sure it's entirely practical.
Perhaps we need ways of catapulting users to the next level. Or, even better, maybe we should copy foursquare and turn it into a game. I can imagine Redbox offering free rentals to users who reach the next level. Steps might include your first web/kiosk or mobile/kiosk combo or the first time you return a DVD in a different city than the one in which you rented it. What do you think? How would you get users up the stairs?